CHINA. Hainan Province plans to establish a third offshore duty free shop, according to a report today by Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China.
The move is firmly in line with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s far-reaching stated commitment to turn the island into an international free trade zone. As reported, Xi made the pledge during a speech in Hainan this month. Xi had promised a more “open and convenient” duty free shopping policy on the island, already notably for the hugely successful introduction of ‘offshore duty free’ in 2011.
Xinhua reports are regarded as reflecting central Government policy.
The article said the new store will be sited in Boao (or Bo’ao), a seaside town near the eastern coastal city of Qionghai, that is best known for the annual Bo’ao Forum for Asia. Xi spoke at the event earlier this month.
Xinhua’s report quoted Wang Yalin, a provincial government official saying that Hainan’s offshore duty free shopping policy will cover all outbound tourists, including ship passengers, in the future. If true, that would appear to open a big opportunity for China Duty Free Group, duty free retailer at Sanya Phoenix International Airport.
The steps will boost tourism and related industries on the resort island, Wang told the agency.
Hainan has two existing offshore duty free operations. The first, and biggest, is China Duty Free Group’s majestic Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex in Haitang Bay. The second is the HNA Group-backed HNDF Haikou Meilan Airport Duty Free Shop (Hainan Duty Free), which has enjoyed six highly successful years.
The far-sighted offshore duty free policy was introduced on a pilot basis in 2011 to drive tourism to the island as well as encourage domestic consumption. It has been a triump and informed observers believe further duty free licences will be granted not only in Hainan but also in selected Mainland China tourist destinations.